Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight ReviewJustin Ling
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is an updated rerelease of the 2008 Nintendo DS game Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard. Like the previous Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, this game comes not only with all the original content of the original game, but several new additions and a new translation. For any fans of the original game, this game is a must-play.
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight comes with a Story Mode that follows a group of five named adventurers: the Fafnir Knight himself, his childhood friend Flavio, Princess Arianna, a knight named Bartrand, and a very young war magus named Chloe. The story in Story Mode is very solid, providing a fascinating mystery that ties into the story and lore from the original Etrian Odyssey II. If anything else, Story Mode seems to be an expansion of the original story, and the main character has quite a bit more relevance to the plot compared to the Highlander of Etrian Odyssey Untold.
There are quite a few things that have gotten an overhaul in this game. One of the biggest improvements is the changes to the levelling system. In the original game, the level caps go up to 70 initially, and a character can only increase their level cap by one by retiring once they reach their highest possible level and retire. The problem was that retiring a character took their level down to around level thirty, and players would have to level them up all over again. Levelling up to Level 99 was very tedious and annoying, and the remake seriously improves things by adopting the same method of increasing level caps used since Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: by defeating three specific postgame superbosses.
This game also introduces a cafe for players to use. This cafe is a new location that serves not only as a guild house where players can store items and play around with grimoire stones, but also as a place to get bonuses during dungeon-crawling. Players will find many types of ingredients in the labyrinths, and these ingredients can be combined to create all sorts of food. Eating these foods granted bonuses such as resistances to binds, increasing status effect damages to enemies, increasing the chances of finding rare enemies, and so on. Some ingredients can be found through gathering, others are found by defeating monsters, and yet others are found by defeating the dreaded FOEs. Overall, the cafe is a great addition to the game.
The Grimoire Stone system introduced in Etrian Odyssey Untold has also been revamped. Grimoire stones now hold only one skill, but players can equip multiple grimoire stones, with more slots becoming available as players level up. Grimoire fusion has been replaced by trading, which is much less complicated than fusion is. Grimoire chances also come in different forms now, with different types determining what stones players will most likely get. Some chances grant stones with enemy skills in them, others have a higher chance of generating high-ranking skills, and some have a higher chance of granting bonus effects. These tweaks have definitely made the grimoire stones easier to use and play around with.
Fighting monsters has been changed quite a bit as well. This game adds new monsters not present in the original game, and some old foes have new tricks as well. Some boss fights now use new gimmicks that force veteran players to rethink their strategies. For instance, one boss can summon allies onto the field, then cause said allies to explode and deal heavy damage three turns after their summoning. The boss fights are intense and players who come ill-prepared, be they newcomers or veterans, will be trounced easily.
There are a few flaws with this game, however. The biggest one is that the difficulty curve can be quite daunting which, when combined with how slow it can be to level up at higher levels, makes playing the game seem like a bit of a slog. This is not helped by many minibosses and bosses having their HP bulked up quite a bit, making battles against these foes an uphill climb even at the appropriate level. This is somewhat understandable as the main character of Story Mode can become a major powerhouse as he progresses through the game, but it results in somewhat tedious gameplay in the early parts of the game.
This is a game that any fan of the original Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard needs to play. It not only introduces several new elements, but it also improves upon many old features as well. The Story Mode is fun to play and provides a new look at the original story, and Classic Mode is less tedious than it used to be. Veteran players will find new things to surprise them, and newcomers can be eased into the game easier than the original one. This will be a trip that no dungeon-crawling fan would want to miss.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.